Difference between Makki and Madani Surah

The Holy Qur’an is unique among all the religious literature of the world. The recording and preservation of the Holy Qur’an is miraculous. The Almighty Allah itself took responsibility for its preservation. It is distinct in its narration from the other world’s literature. The revelation of the Qur’an was started on Prophet Muhammad (SAW) at the age of 40 years and it took 23 years to complete. The Qur’an is a record of the exact words of Allah that were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) through the Arch Angel Gabriel. The entire Qur’an is classified into Makki (Meccan) and Madani (Medinan) Surahs, and there is difference between Makki and Madani Surah.

Different Views Regarding the definitions of Makki and Madani Surah

There are various definitions to explain these Surahs. According to Suyuti, there are three views on that matter[1] and these are:

  • The Surahs or verses (Ayaat) that were sent down before the Migration to Medina (Hijrah) are Makki and those that were sent down after the Migration are Madani. The criterion for that classification is time. The place of revelation is not taken into consideration.
  • The Surahs or verses that were revealed in and around Mecca (like Arafat, Mina, Taif, etc.) are Makki and those sent down in and around Medina are Madani (like Badr, Uhud, etc.)
  • The Surahs or verses that address the people of Mecca are Makki and those that address the people of Medina are Madani. However, the third view is not common and not well accepted.

The most accepted version is that those Surahs or verses which were sent down to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) before Migration to Medina are called Makki and those that were revealed after Migration is known as Madani.[2]

Different Views Regarding the Numbers of Makki and Madani Surah

There are also different views on the number of Makki and Madani Surahs. Some said there are 86 Surahs are Makki and 28 are Madani [3]. In some scholars’ opinion, the numbers of Makki Surahs are 92 and the number of Madani Surahs is 22[4]. Some scholars thought that Qur’an has divided into 89 Makki Surahs and 25 Madani Surahs[5].

The Difference Between Makki and Madani Surah

There are many differences between Makki and Madani Surah, some of which are given below:

Distinguished Features and Teachings of Makki Surahs (Chapters)

  • The first difference between Makki and Madani Surah is that the main theme of the Makki Surahs was to establish logical proofs for Islamic monotheism (Tauheed) while focusing on the attributes and power of Allah. For example-

“Say he is Allah, The one! Allah the eternally besought of all! He begetteth not nor was begotten. And there is none comparable unto him.”[6]

  • The Makki part emphasizes the belief of Risalah (guidance of mankind through Allah’s selected Prophets and Messengers) and Aakhira (destruction of this world and the life hereafter that includes physical and spiritual resurrection of humankind, the Day of Judgment and the life of paradise or hell). Such as –

“We send not the Messengers save as bearers of good news and warners. Whoso believeth and doth right, there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.”[7]

  • The Makki Surahs narrate the stories of the bloody killings of the Polytheists (Mushriks), the misappropriation of the wealth of the orphans, the burial of the alive female children, and their various bad practices and ill behaviors.

“Say: come, I will recite unto you that which your lord hath forbidden to you: that ye ascribe nothing as partner unto him and that ye do good to parents and that ye slay not your children because of penury-we provide for you and for them-and that ye draw not nigh to lewd things weather open or concealed. And that ye slay not the life which Allah hath made sacred, save in the course of justice. This he hath commanded you, in order that ye may discern.”[8]

“And approach not the wealth of the orphan save with that which is better, till he reach maturity.”[9]

  • The Makki Surahs narrate the facts of the earlier Prophets and the stories of the miserable consequences of their disobedient Ummah.

“Messengers indeed have been denied before thee, and they were patient under the denial and the persecution till Our succour reached them. There is none to alter the decisions of Allah. Already there hath reached thee (somewhat) of the tidings of the messengers (We sent before)”[10]  

  • These Surahs emphasize the importance of the contents which is presented through the swearing of the famous objects.

“By the fig and the olive, By Mount Sinai., And by this land made save; surely We created man of the best stature.”[11]

  • Makki Surahs include the two most important Surahs that are known as “Al-Mua’wwadhateyn”, related to the prayers for protection. These two are for protection from fears proceeding from the unknown. In these Surahs, protection is sought especially from the evil in a man’s own heart and in the hearts of other men. Some verses are given below:

“Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of Daybreak, from the evil of that which He created.”[12]

“Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind, from the evil of the sneaking whisper.”[13]

Distinguished Features and Teachings of the Madani Surahs (Chapters)

  •  The Madani part emphasizes ‘Ibadat (servitude to Allah), social behaviors, customs, mutual transactions, Halal and Haram, the law of inheritance, rewards of Jihad (Religious war), trade and commerce, foreign policy, judicial system, criminal procedure code, personal, familial, socio-economic, political and community life.

 “Lo! Those who believe, and those who emigrate and strive in the way of Allah, these have hope of Allah’s mercy, Allah is forgiving, merciful.”[14]

“If ye publish your almsgiving, it is well, but if ye hide it and give it to the poor, it will be better for you, and will atone for some of your ill deeds. Allah is informed of what ye do.” [15]  

  • In Madani Surahs, a description of the apathy of the People of the Book (Ahle Kitab) towards truth and their hypocritical behavior has been described. The hypocrisy of the Hypocrites (Munafiqs) and their conspiracy against Islam and Prophet Muhammad (SAW) have been unveiled in these Surahs except the Surah of Ankabut. It is because the hypocrites emerged in Medina.

“When the hypocrites come unto thee (O Muhammad), they say: we bear witness that thou art indeed Allah’s Messenger. And Allah knoweth that thou art indeed His messenger and Allah beareth witness that the hypocrites are speaking falsely.”[16]

  • The Madani Surahs and verses (Ayaat) are lengthy. The objectives and aims of Sharia’h (Islamic Law) have been explained in simple, clear, and detailed language.


The overall conclusion is that the whole Holy Qur’an is a guide that gives the knowledge to spend life in the best way and to solve all the problems related to human beings and other issues. When a person lives a life according to the Holy Qur’an, he/ she gets complete success at both places, in this world as well as in the hereafter. The Holy Qur’an invites its followers towards love, brotherhood, sacrifice, devotion and peace, and prevents the people of the world from conflict, fighting, and the hot and cold war. It is necessary to obey the teachings of the Qur’an for every Muslim. The Qur’an emphasizes peace and reconciliation as basic to all social and even international relations. It has been supportive of maintaining peace, spreading an environment of serenity and trust, and constructing a civilization of love, compassion, and mercy to share with others in peace.  


[1] Suyuti, Jalaaluddin. Al-Itqaan fi Uloom Al-Qur’an, Vol. 1 ,P. 55 and 56, Daarul Kitabul Arabi, Bairut, Lebonon.

[2] Dr. Adam, Rafiq Ahmed, Introduction to al-Qur’an, Publishers and distributors, New Delhi, ed. 2005.

[3] http://forum.daffodilvarsity.edu.bd/index.php?topic=10444.0

[4] Fakhuri, Hanna.Tarikh al- Adab Al- Arabi. P. 213.

[5] https://ilmibook.com/makki-and-madani-surah/

[6] (al-Akhlas, 112: 1 to 4)

[7]  (Al- Ana’am, 6: 48)

[8] (al-ana’am,6:151)

[9] (Al-Ana’am, 6:152)

[10] (Al- Ana’am, 6:34)

[11] (Al- Tin, 95:1, 2, 3 and 4).

[12] (al- falaq, 113: 1 and 2)

[13]  (Al-Nas, 114:1 and 4)

[14] (Al-Baqra,2:218)

[15] (Al-Baqra, 2:271)

[16]  (Al-munafiqoon 63:1)

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